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When it comes to body armor, weight and concealability are two of the most important factors to consider. Ideally, your body armor should offer the level of protection you need while being as lightweight as possible.
Lightweight armor is easier to wear for longer periods of time, and it also doesn’t take a toll on the wearer’s agility and maneuverability. Body armor attracts attention, sometimes, unwanted attention, which is something that detectives, police officers, federal agents, and even civilians don’t want.
Therefore, in this post, we are going to talk about different kinds of body armor, and tell you how and where you can find the lightest and most concealable body armor in the market.
Table of contents
What is body armor made of?
There are many materials that can be used to make body armor that offer different levels of protection. Generally, there are two kinds of body armor in the market, there are soft body armor and hard armor plates.
Soft armor panels are made from tightly woven Aramid fibers like Kevlar or Polyethylene. These Kevlar body armor panels are inserted in bulletproof vests and offer ballistic protection against handgun rounds. In most cases NIJ Level IIa, Level II, and Level IIIa ballistic panels are made from Aramid fibers.
Kevlar is also used to make concealable armor that is regularly worn by police officers and security guards under their uniform shirts. Some special police units may also wear tactical ballistic vests that can be used to carry additional tactical gear. Stab armor is also made using specially treated Kevlar.
Now, when you want ballistic protection against rifle rounds, soft body armor just doesn’t cut it, you need to use hard ballistic plates that can be made from a variety of materials. These days, most high-quality hard body armor plates are made from ceramic materials and Ultra High Molecular Weight polyethylene.
Level III body armor plates can offer protection against most common rifle rounds like 5.56×45 caliber AR-15 rounds, 7.62×39 AK rounds, and 308 Winchester (7.62×51 NATO), which is a common hunting caliber used in a variety of DMR rifles. It can be made with ceramics and PE, however, PE plates are usually lighter.
Level IV ballistic plates are made using ceramic or ceramic and PE composites. These plates are the heaviest, however, they can offer protection against large calibers up to a 30.06 armor-piercing round.
Hard armor panels are carried in plate carriers, which you can wear on your chest. These plates are used by special law enforcement units and the military.
How much does a bulletproof vest weigh?
The weight of a bulletproof vest is an important factor in its comfort and effectiveness. Many police officers and law enforcement officials have to wear their bullet proof vest all day, and a heavy ballistic vest can make that very difficult.
The weight of body armor depends on the materials it is made from and the level of protection it provides. In general, a soft armor bullet proof vest can weigh around 5-8 lbs, however, the lightest concealable kevlar vests like the Ace Link Armor APEX Armor T-shirt weigh only 3 lbs, and is super comfortable.
Hard ballistic panels weigh a lot more than bullet proof vests. Steel plates are the heaviest, and PE plates are the lightest. However, PE can only be used to make NIJ Level III armor inserts. NIJ Level IV ballistic panels are heavier because they are made from ceramic composites.
A full protection armor system, with a front and back armor plate can even weigh up to 30 lbs, however, Ace Link armor offers the MSOV full protection level IIIa armor system, which only weigh 15 lbs.
Where can I buy bulletproof vests?
There are loads of body armor manufacturers in the market that offer high-quality bullet proof vests, ballistic panels, and tactical plate carriers. You can buy these products at your local gun stores, and online as well.
However, the best place for bullet proof vests and everything related to body armor is the AceLink Armor website. From concealable vests, tactical ballistic vests, ceramic plates, PE plates, and plate carriers to tactical backpacks, ballistic helmets, and load-bearing systems, Acelink armor is your one-stop destination for each and everything related to body armor.
Who needs concealable bullet proof vests?
Concealable bullet resistant vests are used more commonly than you think. Most popularly, law enforcement officials like police officers, federal agents, and secret service agents, wear concealable armor under their uniform shirts or shit shirts. Some paramedics and first responders also wear a concealable kevlar vest.
Personal security guards also wear concealable body armor, because overt bullet proof vests attract too much attention, which isn’t something security personnel, law enforcement detectives, and undercover federal agents want.
Private citizens can also wear concealable body armor on a regular basis if they feel like they could face a threat.
A concealable bulletproof vest is almost always made from soft armor. These bullet proof vests, particularly the ones used by the police are NIJ protection level IIIa, which means that they can offer ballistic protection against all common pistol rounds up to a .44 magnum.
In some special cases, like prisons and correctional facilities, security officers also wear concealable stab armor, since, in a controlled prison, they are more likely to face improvised stabbing weapons rather than guns.
Is a concealed bullet proof vest legal to wear at work?
For the most part, laws regarding body armor, and its purchase in the US are very reasonable. Any law-abiding citizen, who has not been convicted of a violent crime can legally and freely own and wear all kinds and all protection levels of body armor.
This is why almost anyone can wear a bulletproof vest in public. Even convicted felons can wear body armor if their job requires them to, however, they need a permission letter from their employer and if they are on parole, from their parole officer as well.
Though rules regarding body armor seem quite simple, it is important to specifically check the laws of your state and county, because the rules may be different in some situations, for instance, in Louisiana, attending school students are allowed to wear body armor.
Now, for the most part, you can legally wear concealable body armor publicly, but when it comes to your work, you also need to consider the corporate guidelines of your workplace. If your workplace has a legal department, it is best to consult them first if you want to wear concealable body armor to work. However, in general, every law-abiding private citizen has the right to legally wear any kind of body armor wherever they want.